Monday, November 4, 2013


I was so excited for my two brainiac teenagers to find jobs. Money is of course one reason. We have never given out allowances at the House of Es, mostly because we are all too scatterbrained (every one of us, it's genetic)to remember anything on a weekly basis, and also because, well, ain't nobody got pocket change for dat! "Dat" being six kids. We do pay them for doing jobs around the house, which is in general an ok system. But not very regular, and I honestly don't pay them very well. 

So what happens when they want to "hang?" Just to meet friends for, geez, anything, costs them pocket change. Bowling, movies, mini-golf, football games, Mo's, none of that stuff is free it turns out. Now that they are driving age, every time the two of them have gone to meet friends, it has meant spending money. A lot of things they have simply missed out on, which means it's taking longer to establish friendships. This has not made for an easy transition. And it is so, so hard, I admit, to be the new kid in a new place and to always have to sit out whatever you are invited to because you don't have yet another five bucks. 

How do teenagers pay to do all this stuff? Do their parents really just give them oodles of money to "hang" with? According to Peter and Jude they do. 

But we don't. 

Are they secretly embittered against us for this? Maybe a little.

They also see that I can't pay them to mow the lawn or to clean the windows every single day. They also see that the money it costs for one round of mini-golf would pay for an entire month of Netflix for our whole family, or a new pair of shoes for Isaac's ever growing feet, or bread and juice for that homeless guy downtown for a week. 

And you know what? As much as they want to be cool and "hang" and play mini-golf, I know they love for our family to watch Netflix together, love Isaac and his shoe'd feet, even love that scary homeless guy who always wants to tell you his story and have you buy him some juice. 

So like the three little pigs in the fable (minus the smart one who built the brick house), Peter and Jude went off to seek their fortunes in the world. I was thrilled to think of my little, impressionable ones being taken under someone's generous wings and taught to do, well, anything! Flip burgers with aplomb, bag groceries with gracious manners, make change from a register with ever increasing brilliance and dexterity! And have their own money for bowling!

Well, they did get jobs. But I'm not sure they are learning...anything!

Peter does this: 

He stands on a street corner for four hour intervals listening to books on tape. He has finished about 5 books already, so I guess he is learning from reading? Oh! He is learning to be targeted and harassed by those filled with righteous indignation. Many the driver has shouted angrily at him, "ADOPT DONT SHOP!!!! PUPPY MILLS KILL!" He shrugs his shoulders and smiles. He got his first paycheck the other day and I don't think it hurt his dignity one bit to realize he could be replaced by a simple post and nail. 

Jude. Here he is when I dropped him off a block away (he's ashamed of me) from his esteemed place of business for his first day last week:

What does he do? Oh, he passes out flyers. On the beach. Dressed like this. Or in a fancy taco costume when he's lucky (pictures of that yet to come!)

If he proves himself a worthy flyer-passer-outer, he will graduate to working in this classy taco shack. That is a gigantic "if," folks.

Well, they may not be interning with a  motorcycle mechanic or a French chef, but they are filling some kind of need, and more importantly, are earning enough money to hang. My cool kids.


  1. I'll pay your The Jude $5 to appear in his taco costume on your blog.

  2. I love that your kids are working. What they are doing isn't as important as the fact that they are willing to work and earn their own money. They may not be learning any job skills but they are learning responsibility and good work ethic. Those two things will take them far!

    1. My husband told him it's a whole lot harder to stand smiling for four hours than you would think, and he was so right! Patience is a virtue.

  3. This whole post is so in my radar right now! Same exact scenarios, where we are told by our two oldest that yes, their friends are just given money, however much, whenever they want it, to go and have fun. Even better, "everyone" who turns 16 is bought a car, and most of them not just a car, oh maybe a 2013 Camaro or Denali. Seriously... We haven't tried flyer passing out or sign holding, but everywhere we've gone has insisted that 16 is the minimum age at which they will even look at our girls as possible employees. Anyway, love that Jude and Peter are doing this - they are awesome. And the fact that Peter listens to books on tape. Well. Someone I'm related to, if hired for that job, would just be on instagram. All four hours.

  4. They work hard for their money. So hard for their money.

    What is minimum wage down in Fl? It's $8 up here, but they are trying to get a question on the next ballot to raise it to over $10!!

    1. I think it is 7.50, but Jude earns less because technically employees at Yo! Taco earn tips. Peter earns more than minimum wage because obviously it's skilled labor. Ten bucks! I'm moving north!

  5. Loving this one, my friend...

    My Madison began working when she was 14. She has loved Dairy Queen since she was a little girl, and as soon as she could she asked if she could apply. She has worked there for three years and loves it! many of her friends were incredulous that she had a job. They could not believe she would WANT to work!!!
    They are all waaayyyy to busy with year round sports and sports practices and conditioning to have time to make their own acquire skills necessary for a successful transition to adulthood.Around here, this is the pervasive feeling among families.

    I find this attitude among many parents very disheartening...I mean I am all for fun sports seasons...but when they are taken so seriously that kids have no time to pursue interest in the workplace to make money and gain experience, and when these kids graduate and are unable to fill out a job application and have no motivation to find a job...then that is an injustice.

    Madison has recently begun using her own money for hair products and makeup...and she is literally seeing how much money things actually cost! It is such a good learning experience for her all around.

    I think it has been harder on me to tell you the truth...I miss her when she's at work!

    Ok...end of way too long comment. : )

    Kinda passionate about this one!

    1. I am with you! Sports are wonderful and help with development in so many ways but not with the exclusion of all else. Employment and all that goes with it is an invaluable learning tool.

  6. Good for them for working. My sister once had a job where she had to dress up as a bunny and wave at passing cars. I think it was for an apartment complex. And, it was summer that bunny costume was hot. We had waaaaaaay too much fun teasing her about her hot bunny job. LOL

  7. I grew up in Orlando and had a job since I was fourteen - I worked at Disney, on Mainstreet, selling balloons! (great great job - every single kid in my family did it) I used this to save to buy a car, then to pay my insurance payments, and for gas. I also charged the other kids to whom I gave rides to school ($5 a person...highway robbery considering a full tank of gas at that time cost me $10 and my little Honda Accord was full of four people).

    But it was true that every weekend, everybody wanted to go to the movies, eat out someplace, etc. I was only saved because I went to a public school in a really bad area of town (Cypress Creek, out in Meadow Woods area), so a lot of my friends didn't have a lot of money. The kids who were bused in for the magnet program, like me, had a lot of money though - they were going to concerts, road trips, etc. It didn't hurt me...later on I switched to waiting tables during the summer, working as a research assistant during the year and that was good for me too. I put myself through college, grad school, and law school.

    Learning to work is definitely a good thing! Brava for standing firm - it has the added benefit of not turning your children into nothing more than little consumers.

    1. We used to love near Orlando and they dreamed of working at Disney. Nowadays you have to be 18!

  8. You know we are there too, lots of kids, lots of needs, little cash flow to go around. Jobs truly help them attain what they want and value the time it took them to buy it.
    I just love the book audio idea while holding signs for hours on end - genius!

  9. Same situation here. I am sure they are learning the value of time and money. Great idea on audio book.
    My daughter is proud when she can buy her own things, instead of adding costs to us. And when I do pay for something she was expecting/budgeting to pay, she is extremely grateful. So many of her friends can't -imagine- how she was able to get a job (she just applied). It is another letting go/letting grow up thing that is so good for them.

  10. Proud! Be proud! No job is too humble, if it's done with a smile on your face. And the idea of helping out the family by making their own money is so so key. Most of my roommates in college had everything paid for. My one roommate and I who didn't learned a whole lot about life.

  11. Good for them! It's kids like, who are willing to start anywhere, who end up doing so so well in future jobs! Way to go, mom!


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